Midwives are shaping and transforming services

In the last of a series of blogs previewing this week’s 2018 CNO Summit, NHS England’s Head of Maternity, Children and Young People and the Director of the Maternity Transformation Programme highlight the progress made across the country to implement the vision set out in Better Births and give a taste of the session they will lead:

This year is a really important year for maternity services.

Midwives and Obstetricians are working really hard to implement the recommendations of Better Births, aiming to make maternity services in England safer and more personal.

It’s been two years since the publication of Better Births, the report of the national maternity review, and we are pleased with the progress made across the Local Maternity systems.

The nine national workstreams of the Maternity Transformation Programme are delivering dedicated support to the maternity system, including an investment of £8million in our maternity early adopters; establishing choice pioneers that have delivered nearly 10,000 Personal Maternity Care Budgets; rolling out the Maternity and Neonatal Healthcare Safety Collaborative; guidance on continuity of carer; toolkits to support ill-health prevention; funding to build new mother and baby units; development of specialist perinatal mental health community services metrics and measures to help clinical teams measure what they do – to name a few!

If you haven’t yet visited the Maternity Transformation Hub for details on all these developments, please do take a look.

While these are good initiatives, we know that to improve services for women and their families, real change is and will take place through local services and the 44 Local Maternity Services (LMS). Over the last 12 months, each LMS has formed and developed proposals to implement Better Births in every part of England.

We have been encouraged by the feedback from midwives, doctors and support staff who are seeing signs that improvement is starting to happen. An example of this are the year-on-year improvements in safety outcomes or the small but statistically significant improvements in experience found by the recently publish CQC Maternity survey.

That, allied to the specific improvements we see and hear about when we meet maternity leaders from around the country, give us real optimism about the future.

This year is a tipping point for maternity services. It is the year when the plans across the country will start to be implemented at pace and midwives will be at the centre of making sure women receive care that is personal and safe.

The recently refreshed 2018/19 planning guidance for the NHS asks for full implementation of the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle, starting to monitor improvements at LMS level across the country and ensuring that by March 2019 20% of women who book for maternity care are booked onto a pathway that gives them Continuity of Carer throughout their antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care.

Our midwifery workforce in England is vital for ensuring women receive the best care possible. If a woman receives her care from the same midwife or small team of midwives this will not only mean safer care for mother and baby but also improve the experience received and job satisfaction for the midwife.

There’s also a really clear expectation that we will improve the quality of investigations when things go wrong with the refresh of the NHS Serious Incident Framework due to be published later this year. The Health Service Investigation Branch (HSIB) is about to start an independent investigation of 1,000 Each Baby Counts incidents and maternal deaths that occur in England each year.

Unsurprisingly LMSs, midwives and doctors are daunted by the requirements of this guidance and we do not underestimate the challenge this represents.

That is why the Maternity Transformation Programme is committed to offering every single Local Maternity System in England a bespoke package of support from national work streams, regions and clinical networks based on a shared understanding of local priorities, strengths and challenges.

We look forward to meeting many of you and sharing more examples of progress, at the CNO Summit and hope you can join us at our session.

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has vast experience in healthcare provision and is the first Chief Midwifery Officer in England.

She has worked as a midwife and a nurse and held senior positions in clinical practice, education, leadership and management including: Director of Midwifery and Nursing positions for Women’s and Children’s services at Imperial College Healthcare Trust & Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Academic roles have included: Senior Lecturer, Curriculum Leader, LME and Professor of Midwifery.

Jacqueline was appointed Chief Midwifery Officer in Spring 2019 at NHS England and NHS Improvement and is National Maternity Safety Champion for the Department of Health. She is also visiting Professor of Midwifery at Kings College London and London South Bank University.

Her experience has seen her leading and influencing national maternity standards and guidance. She also influences healthcare, nationally and internationally through research, education and publications and is frequently invited to speak at national and international conferences. She is a member of the British Journal of Midwifery editorial board and until recently was an active member of the Maternity and Newborn Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine.

She has joined the Tommy’s Charity National Advisory Board as Midwifery advisor, and the Women of the Year management committee. Her voluntary work currently includes Midwifery Advisor for the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and until recently a trustee.

In 2014 she received the HSJ, BME Pioneers award and in 2015 she was selected from over 100 nominations for inclusion on Nursing Times’ Leaders 2015 list that celebrates nurses and midwives who are pioneers, entrepreneurs and inspirational role models in their profession.

Matt Tagney

Matt Tagney is NHS England’s Programme Director for the Maternity Transformation Programme.

In this role Matt is responsible for bringing together delivery partners and stakeholders at national, regional and local level to build and deliver a programme of work that will see the NHS implement The National Maternity Review: Better Births by 2020/21 making maternity services in England kinder, safer and more personal.

Matt has led the development and implementation of major health policies at a national and local level in England and internationally.

He is also a trustee of the Rangoon General Hospital Reinvigoration Charitable Trust which is supporting the renewal and development of hospitals in Rangoon and Rakhine, Myanmar.

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